Thursday, December 31, 2009

"Seeking a Cure for Optimism"

12/31/09. Hope springs eternal in the healthy, but not in many intellectuals who make a living knowing things that aren't true.

This NYT article takes a swipe at Positive Psychology, a movement that Professor Martin E.P. Seligman started in 1998. Positive Psychology has attracted some of the best and brightest psychologists and psychiatrists, among other professionals, and spawned some important, well designed research studies on such topics as character, virtues, and enhancing human experience. This emphasis on looking for what is positive in human experience is a much needed corrective to years of only examining psychopathology.

This article quotes the work of Barbara Ehrenreich, a congenital sourpuss, with a long history of applying her Marxist world view --- and I don't mean Groucho --- to helping the poor and downtrodden, barely disguising her smug attitudes.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/31/fashion/31positive.html?_r=1&em

Monday, December 28, 2009

"Information - For Better or Worse"

12/28/09. Journalist Robert Samuelson reflects on his 40 year career getting to the "truth."

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2009/12/28/information_is_power_--_for_better_or_worse_99705.html

Monday Quotations

12/28/09.


"I went to a restaurant that serves 'breakfast at any time.' So I ordered French Toast during the Renaissance."

--- Steven Wright (1955 - )


"The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings."

--- Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

In physics the truth is rarely perfectly clear, and that it certainly universally the case in human affairs. Hence, what is not surrounded by uncertainty cannot be the truth."

--- Richard Feynman (1918 - 1988)

Sunday, December 27, 2009

"What My Daughter Taught Me About Compassion"

12/27/09. Former 60's radical, editor of Ramparts Magazine, friend of the Black Panthers, author of "Radical Son," and now conservative social critic, David Horowitz tells the story of what he learned from his daughter - a passionate liberal --- who recently died.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703939404574568361975770866.html

"Where Did These Guys Come From?"

12/27/09. Victor Davis Hanson, Professor of Ancient History, looks at Obama and his followers. Not all will agree with Hanson, for sure, but his ideas are provocative and make you think.

http://pajamasmedia.com/victordavishanson/where-did-these-guys-come-from/

Saturday, December 26, 2009

"Trial by Fire"

12/25/09. David Grann investigated the death of Cameron Todd Willingham's three children --- they died in a house fire, and Williamgham escaped.

"The fire moved quickly through the house, a one-story wood-frame structure in a working-class neighborhood of Corsicana, in northeast Texas. Flames spread along the walls, bursting through doorways, blistering pain and tiles and furniture. Smoke pressed against the ceiling, then banked downward, seeping into each room and through crevices in the windows, staining the morning sky..."

Willingham was executed for killing his children. --- Did Texas execute an innocent man?

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/09/07/090907fa_fact_grann

Thursday, December 24, 2009

College Students and Suicide

12/24/09. Psychiatrist Sally Satel reviews the policy of too many colleges to expel students who talk about suicide - rather than getting students the help they need.

http://www.aei.org/article/101450

"The Protocol Society"

12/24/09. NYT's writer David Brooks reviews a new book about the new economy - filled with ideas, knowledge, and the creativity of entrepreneurs.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/22/opinion/22brooks.html

Monday, December 21, 2009

Monday Quotations

12/21/09.

"Music is the best means we have of digesting time."

--- W. H. Auden (1907 - 1973)


"Familiar things happen and mankind does not bother about them. It requires a very unusual mind to undertake analysis of the obvious."

--- Alfred North Whitehead (1861 - 1947)


"It is also true that one can write nothing readable unless one constantly struggles to efface one's own personality. Good prose is like a windowpane."

--- George Orwell (1903 - 1950)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Ideas of 2009

12/17/09. The NYT Magazine looks back at some wacky, useful, silly, creative and practical ideas of 2009.

http://www.nytimes.com/projects/magazine/ideas/2009/#a

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

"Last Exit to Utopia"

12/15/09. WSJ writer Brett Stephens reviews a mind-opening book by the French political-philosopher Jean-Francois Revel.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704240504574585881108040134.html

Monday, December 14, 2009

Monday Quotations

12/14/09.

"Among those whom I like or admire, I can find no common denominator, but among those whom I love, I can: all of them make me laugh."

--- W. H. Auden (1907 - 1973)


"The trouble with our times is the future is not what it used to be."

--- Paul Valery (1871 - 1945)


"To teach is to learn."

--- Japanese Proverb

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Paul A. Samuelson, R.I.P.

12/13/09. Economist Paul Samuelson dies at age 94 years. Among his many contributions, he wrote one of the most famous and enduring textbooks.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/14/business/economy/14samuelson.html?hp

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Saturday, December 5, 2009

"Married (Happily) with Issues"

12/5/09. In the NYT, writer Elizabeth Weil muses about the complexity of marriage.

Couple therapy is the toughest kind of therapy ---- psychologist and couple are in a room with the strong winds of unconscious forces, blame, regrets, jealousies, projections, voices from the past, and much more ---- yet when it works, couple therapy is often the most gratifying.

"By all means marry. If you have a good wife, you'll be happy; if you get a bad one, you'll become a philosopher."

--- Socrates (469 B.C. - 399 B.C.)

"Love is strong as death, jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame."

Song of Songs (8:6)

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/06/magazine/06marriage-t.html?_r=1&em=&pagewanted=all